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St. John's Episcopal
Friday, October 13 2023
From The Canon: Taking One Deep Breath (and then another)

Dear Ones of St. John’s,

As the mother of teen and tween age children, I have been learning a lot about emotional regulation. More specifically, as I walk beside my daughters (ages 12 and 14) through a big time of social and emotional growth, I’ve been learning with them  how human bodies respond to stress and specific skills and strategies to help myself and others when moments of dysregulation occur. I have learned that one of the best ways I can help myself, my kids, or anyone else in moments of panic or distress is simply to stop and take one deep breath. I like to count to five or six while I breathe in, then hold the air in my lungs for a similar amount of time, and then breathe out completely. It is so simple, and it works. A couple of these deep breaths can return me to myself. My kids tell me it works for them, too. We’ve even been able to use this breathing skill in the midst of conflict with each other, to help all parties return to our bodies and remember ourselves.

I am so pleased to be with you for the months ahead. Transition of any kind can produce anxiety, and sudden or unexpected change is an emotional trigger for many people as individuals. It is certainly rough on communities of people. I hope you can experience our time together as a deep breath, a chance to breath in and out slowly and regularly as we navigate what’s next for St. John’s together. In the coming weeks we will establish patterns of worship and explore how to return St. John’s to the staffing and Sunday morning programming that a church of your size needs. I will be working from St. John’s most Tuesdays, so if you’d like a moment with me or to grab a cup of coffee on a Tuesday in the coming weeks please let me know. I remain an employee of the Bishop’s Office, on assignment to be your priest and cheerleader as we work out what the future looks like. You can reach me via email at

Here are a couple other tidbits about me, for the curious. I’ve been married to my spouse, Andrew, for over 18 years. We have two daughters, Jubilee and Salome. The four of us attend an evening church service in Seattle most Sunday nights. I am a big animal lover, and you may have a chance to meet our dog, Wanda, on one of my Tuesdays in the office. She may be coming in with me from time to time. In addition to Wanda, we have five hens who we adore for their sparkling personalities and delicious eggs. I live in Des Moines, which is 45-50 min drive north of Olympia.

And – I can’t wait to see you this coming Sunday.

With care and gratitude,

Canon Alissa

Posted by: Canon Alissa AT 12:24 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email